Who will win Women's Rugby World Cup 2010?

(IRB.COM) Sunday 5 September 2010
 Who will win Women's Rugby World Cup 2010?
Will Melissa Ruscoe (left) or Catherine Spencer lift the trophy? Photo: rugbymatters.net

We put some of the players and coaches on the spot and find out who they think will win the Women's Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and England.

Australia wing Kristy Giteau: "You can expect a truly tight contest, an incredibly physical encounter where it could go either way.

"New Zealand have dominated; they're an exceptional team and truly talented across the board and the English are fantastic at executing game play and being regimented. It could go either way, it just depends on the elements, who is the more hungry and who executes their game plan."

Wales coach Jason Lewis: "I think it's going to be a very close game. I think if England manage to get their forward game going and their set piece going, and if they can dominate New Zealand up front, they stand a fair chance.

"However, New Zealand have a fantastic side, particularly their backs and their ability to handle the ball. If they get time and space on the ball then they could certainly take the game."

Sweden full back Lina Norman: "I think New Zealand will win, but I think it will be a very even game. From what I've heard, England has a few injuries and that might keep them back a bit, but they are on home ground.

"But I think New Zealand; I've seen them play and they play really well. But they're both world class.

"It's going to be an even game when it comes to forward and backs play, but I think that the New Zealand backs have the advantage. But then maybe New Zealand hasn't been tested as much as England has, so it will be very even and low scoring - not so many tries as they are both tough sides and good in defence."

Canada coach John Long:
"I'm originally from the UK so my heart's with England, but from watching England and New Zealand play, New Zealand always seem to have that little X-Factor.

"I think it's going to be a very close game. My heart goes with England, but my rugby brain clicks in towards New Zealand, but no matter what happens I think it's going to be great for rugby.

"It's going to be a humdinger; they're going to go out tackling hard. I don't think you're going to get this huge expansive game with so much at stake, I think you're just going to get a war of attrition and if a mistake is made, it could come down to whoever picks up on it fast and takes that opportunity. That's where I think New Zealand have that little X-Factor."

Ireland number 8 Joy Neville: "I think New Zealand will just about get there. It'll be a close game. I think England will be on their line for a bit. New Zealand will want to get it out to their wingers - they seem to like to get them involved.

"I think the lineouts will be well contested by both teams and I think the scrum will be quite even. I think it's just down to missed tackles and the speed of the New Zealand backs that will break the line."

Scotland coach Gary Parker: "I couldn't split them, it's a contrast of styles. England are big, physical and played some good rugby during the build up. Behind the scrum New Zealand have got three or four game breakers - they've got a lot of natural raw talent.

"England will win it on the physicality side of things, that's what they did to Australia, they stifled the Australian off load game, but if New Zealand get their game going, and manage to speed the game up then it could be different.

"It's about who can impose their game on the other. If England can stifle the game up front and have a physical confrontation then I think England will win the game, but if the ball gets thrown around and the game becomes unstructured, New Zealand have enough game breakers to win it."

France back Fanny Horta: "It's a very big game and I think New Zealand will win. Why? Because of the ability and athleticism of their players - they're quick with good hands and vision. I think it will be a low scoring game."

Scotland centre Lucy Millard: "I think it's going to be an amazing match. I remember watching the one four years ago and just thinking this is how Women's Rugby should be played. I think you can really see from the tournament that all the teams have really built in the last four years and the standard has been really great.

"I wouldn't possibly be able to say who I'm backing, but I do think it's going to be an outstanding game and I just hope we get to see the backs running, linking in space.

"There'll be some extremely talented players out on that park from both teams and I think it'll be a cracker. I'm looking forward to watching it."

Chairwoman of Japan Women's Rugby CommitteeNoriko Kishida: "The 2006 final was fantastic, there were very few mistakes. That was a very close game and this time it's also very close, but I think England has the advantage. They can win."